Less sick leave with better
Helsinki (08.02.2012 - Heikki Jokinen) Company
leadership has a major impact on the ability of employees to perform their
work, according to a recent study made by the Finnish Institute of
Occupational Health. Investing in good leadership could reduce accidents,
the amount of sick leave and general inability to work.
The study is based on
information collected from 64 Finnish companies, which together employ
80,000 people. The material covers the years from 2008 to 2011.
The cost of work not done
in these companies was on average 7.1 per cent of the salaries paid, varying
from 2 to 12 per cent depending on the company. The costs due to sick leave
and other similar expenses were on average 2,900 euro annually per employee.
The total cost of work not
done in the companies participating in the study may be estimated at between
50-230 million euro annually. If the entire private sector of the Finnish
economy were to be measured in this way this would mean a direct cost of 4-5
billion euro for private companies. And the study reveals that the branch or
the size of the company does not influence the cost level.
Twelve of the companies
have been working determinedly at ways to improve leadership, by taking
steps such as early intervention in working ability problems, paying more
attention to rehabilitation and making it easier for employees to return to
work after accidents and sick leave.
Whereas the costs of the
work not done concerning the whole group have remained at the same level
every year, among those 12 who have adopted special measures to improve work
ability, the costs have been dropping by 27 per cent. In euros this saving
would be approximately 1,000 euro annually per full time employee.
Even though investment in
occupational health grew somewhat in these 12 companies, savings from the
smaller number of sick leave days, accident costs and early pensions were
The food industry company
Atria is one of the companies participating in the study. They succeeded in
reducing sick leave from ten per cent of working time to six per cent by
investing in occupational health services and better leadership.
The company gave their
employees the possibility to monitor their health even before possible
illness arose, rehabilitation began in the early stages and for those for
whom the work had become too heavy or arduous, an alternative was offered.
diminished by 30-40 per cent and extended periods of sick leave were cut in
half. The company competitiveness, effectiveness and economy improved, too,
report the company management.